Sunday, October 31, 2010

"A Brief Historical Sketch" of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church, 1930

The black and white rendering below is the Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church building that was dedicated on September 7, 1930. Isn't it magnificent?! In the historical sketch in the program, transcribed below, the minister mentions the old building that had been in use since 1868. In the postcard, below right, you can just barely see the old building on the right side of the postcard. When I first saw the postcard I thought there must have been a mistake; then when I read the dedication program I understood that this was the original church building.

By the Pastor [Haines A. Reichel]

This society of Methodist Episcopal people who dedicate a new House of Worship today, September the 7th, A. D. 1930, has had a long and glorious history. Records seem not to be available prior to the year 1867, but the church was organized before that date. The Reverend William Rawson was assigned to the Mineral Ridge-Ohltown charge in the year 1867 by the Erie Conference when these two churches were taken off the “Liberty Circuit” and united into one charge.

The building which was torn down July 30, 1929, to make way for the present new building, was dedicated December 23rd, 1868, by Bishop Kingsley and served this congregation for 61 years. From July 30, 1929 until July 4th, 1930, we held services in the old Disciples Church on south main street, at which time we moved into the new Recreation Hall in this building.

The first definite movement for a new church building was begun during the pastorate of Rev. Charles Eyster and on December 9, 1924, the “Profit and Pleasure Class” of women started the building fund with a deposit of $600 in the bank. Later this class was organized into a Ladies’ Aid Society and to date they have contributed more than $6000 to the fund.

Prior to the assignment, October 1st, 1928, of the present pastor to the charge, a previously appointed Building Committee had spent many long and fruitful hours consulting with architects and visiting and inspecting church buildings, but by that time no mutual agreements had been reached. However, on April 15th, 1929 the Official Board, at its regular meeting, held in the home of Mrs Mary James, approved the recommendation of the Building Committee: “That H. W. Maurer, Architect, of Cleveland, be employed to design and superintend the building of a new structure on the site of the old church and that he be requested to submit plans and estimates for final approval.” Subsequent meetings and consultations caused the approval of the plans upon which this building has been erected, the cost having been estimated by the architect at that time at $55,000 complete.

The important events which rapidly took place following this action were: “Launching Day,” on June 23rd, 1929. The old subscriptions which had been made five years ago were declared null and void at this time and on a new basis of three years payment subscriptions amounting to more than $20,000 were received. The speaker was Bishop Joseph F. Berry of our church. “Home Coming Day,” on July 28, 1929, at which time we held our last meetings and Communion service in the old building, was a great day and many of the old members returned to the old church home. At the morning and evening services this day $1700 more was added to the fund. The old building was razed the following week and the new work begun.

The Corner Stone of the new structure was laid on Sunday, November 24th, 1929, and during the winter months most of the work was stopped because of bad weather. Today we assemble in the completed temple and praise God for His goodness unto us and for His guidance through these past months. Our financial statement presented today indicates other monies added to those mentioned above and our needs for completion.

We believe that we have erected a building fit for the Master’s work, beautiful, worshipful and useful, and we pray for His continued mercy and guidance as we plan and work for the future.

Dedication Day Program, Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church was the first post in this series. The other two posts are
About the Stained Glass Windows of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church and Mineral Ridge Businesses, 1930.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Men in Aprons

In the photo on the left, taken in 1938 or '39, Dad's the man on the right. Wearing an apron. Like many men of his day he just didn't do much in the kitchen except eat. Only once, when I was 5 or 6, do I remember him making a meal: it was tomato soup which he made for lunch while my mom was at an appointment or a meeting. It was a bit of an ordeal but we didn't go hungry. And I remember him washing dishes occasionally. But cooking was not one of his areas of expertise or interest. So I find it funny to see him and Tux (Earl Tuxford) in aprons. You can see that they were teasing, joking around with their wives with their sleeves rolled up. My mom probably snapped the photo with her camera that was a graduation-from-nursing-school gift.

In the photo on the right, taken about 25 years later, Dad was really cooking the steak on the grill. But the apron and hat were a joke. We bought them as a joke and he wore them to please us, just for the photo. The steak was probably delicious. He didn't/couldn't cook inside but he did a great job cooking on the grill.

Head over to Sepia Saturday and see what everyone else is cooking up this week.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Elizabeth Jane Laws

Family records tell me that Elizabeth Jane Laws was born in England, probably in Northumberland, on this day in 1845. She attended a church school where she learned to read, write, do arithmetic, and sew. She probably also learned to think independently and to make careful decisions.

When she was 16 she married Andrew Doyle, a widower who was 9 years older than her. As you can imagine, her unhappy parents opposed the marriage. They were probably even more unhappy when, 8 years later her husband left for America and a year later she emigrated with their 4 young children.

My siblings and I are strong-willed; some might even go so far as to call us stubborn at times. Over the years we've always attributed that trait to the Doyle side of the family, probably because we saw it so clearly in our father. When I consider Elizabeth Jane, I think perhaps the strong will comes from the Laws side of the family, too!

I wish you a happy, happy birthday, Grandy! I'm so glad you made the choice you did -- or I wouldn't be here!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Good, I'm Bad

I'm Good...
I can't find everything I want/need on the internet. Sometimes I go to the Ohio Historical Society Archives Library (OHS) to search their newspapers or other resources on microfilm or in some of their books. Sometimes I go to the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) (which has genealogy resources for every state, inherited from the State Library of Ohio when some statesmen decided that genealogy resources didn't belong in the state library) to search through their books. I find both places very useful in different ways.

When I go to these places, I prepare in advance. For OHS, I prepare a chart with a list of the people I want to find, the date of the event, what the event is, and the microfilm roll number or numbers. On my chart is space to make notes indicating the beginning and ending dates of my search, which is especially useful if I don't find anything, as well as space for other notes. For CML, I prepare a list with the same information as for OHS and have already looked up the call numbers for whatever books I want to look through.

When I find an obituary, a marriage announcement, deed information, or whatever it is I've been searching for, I carefully adjust the microfilm reader so that the image is large and in focus then I print it. When it comes out of the printer, I even more carefully note on the back of the paper the name of the newspaper, the day and date it was published, the page and column number where I found the information, and the microfilm roll number. I'm equally careful if I'm looking at an index of government records or a city directory or other book. Isn't that good?

I'm Bad...
When I get home around dinner time I'm usually exhausted and my eyes are sore from spending the day in a dark room watching the microfilm roll by. Unless I'm very, very excited by some find at either place, my papers usually stay in the portfolio I took with me until later in the evening or the next day (and sometimes even longer). Then I move the papers into separate surname folders and pull them out when I'm working on a particular family and am ready to add the information to my genealogy program.

The reason this is bad - at least for me - is that sometimes these papers with information to be recorded accumulate until there are a dozen or more in the folders. With 15 surname folders, each with a dozen papers.... Well, you can imagine my dilemma. Not only do these folders have photocopies of information to be recorded, they also have notes that I've taken while searching online, notes to myself about what to do next, ideas about connections, etc.

I'm good about being organized and careful. I'm bad about being prompt.

I'm Trying to Be Better...
Again today, for the second time in two weeks, I've started going through my surname folders, pulling out the papers, and recording the information in my genealogy program. I make some progress, and then I have a question about a child or a marriage or whether I can find some other reference, source, or document online somewhere for some event -- and there I am, once again, with more papers going into a file to be recorded later.

I can't decide whether I take two steps forward and one step back, or two steps forward and two steps back. It must be the first because I am making progress . . . little by little. I hope you, dear reader, are not beset by a similar challenging dilemma.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mary Thompson Bickerstaff

She stands alone in this photograph but she grew up in a family circle of at least 8 siblings, the last one born just months before she left home to marry. She was the mother of 9 children herself, the first born when she was 18, the last born when she was 37. By that time she was already a grandmother. Certainly she was encircled most of her life by children. Alone for a snapshot, but probably not alone very often. In fact, as the mother of 9, I wonder if she might sometimes have wished for a little time alone....

This is Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, my great-grandmother. She was born in New Alexandria, Jefferson County, Ohio, on October 26, 1873, to John and Lydia (Bell) Thompson. She married Edward Jesse Bickerstaff on March 15, 1891, in Steubenville, Ohio.

Her 9 children were William, Emma, John, Daniel, Mary Ellen, Edward Jesse, Andrew, Flora, and Cora. All but Cora were born in Steubenville Township, Jefferson County.

Sometime between 1910 and 1914 Mary and Edward Jesse moved north to Mineral Ridge, Ohio. They lost their 8th child, 1-year-old daughter Flora, in August, 1910. Perhaps that event prompted a move away from the sadness that would have surrounded them. Though their oldest child was already married by the time they moved to the Ridge, he and his wife moved along with them.

Mary is shown at right with her three surviving daughters, from left to right, Mary Ellen, known as Mayme; Cora, the youngest; and Emma, my grandmother.

On September 6, 1940, at the age of 67, Mary passed away at her home in the Ridge. Her death certificate tells me that she had diabetes and died of coronary thrombosis. I was surprised to find her obituary on the front page of The Niles Daily Times.

My mother and my aunt knew Gramma Bickerstaff. I don't remember them describing her personality, though they spoke highly and lovingly of her.

This is a post to honor and remember her. Happy Birthday, Gramma!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dedication Day Program, Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church

Among my mother's papers I found the "Dedication Day Program" of September 7, 1930, for the "Methodist Episcopal Church" in Mineral Ridge, Ohio. I will post 19 of the 20 pages of the program (the back page is blank) and will include transcriptions of several of the pages I think are more interesting or may be helpful for others seeking ancestors.

In the program are pages with the church officers, a historical survey, schedule of services of the day, and the symbolism of the stained glass windows, all of which are on the right side pages. The rest of the pages are comprised of advertising and good wishes for the success of the church. I'll begin with a transcription of the page of church officers and contractors and companies who worked on and provided supplies for the building of the church. (The actual page is at the end of this post.)

Robert Garland, President; Frank Clemson, Financial Secretary; F. C. Dunlap, Recording Secretary; B. R. Koch; C. W. Harshman; Frank Knoyer; Robert Bowden

Mrs. George Jones; Mrs. Mary James; Mrs. Wm. Delaney; Mrs. John Laramey; Joseph Payne; C. H. Bixler, Church Treasurer

Other Members
Mrs. Robert Bowden; John Fairburn

Organization Presidents and Superintendents
Sunday School--B. R. Koch
Ladies' Aid--Mrs. Geo. Jones
Missionary Society--Mrs. Robert Bowden
Epworth League--John Fairburn
Men's Brotherhood--O. H. Garland
King's Heralds--Alice Clemson
Light Bearers--Mrs. W. A. Smith
Choir--Mrs. H. A. Reichel

The Building Committee
W. H. Maurer, Architect; B. R. Koch, Chairman; Mrs. Geo. Jones, Treasurer; Frank Clemson, Secretary; Mrs. B. G. Rosensteel; Robert Garland; Haines A. Reichel, Pastor

The Building Finance Committee
Frank Knoyer; Mrs. Geo. Jones; Robert Meinzen; Bertram Simpson; L. A. Drake; Mrs. B. G. Rosensteel; B. R. Koch; Mrs. Geo. Momrris; Haines A. Reichel, Pastor


In the name of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church and the Building Committee, we wish to express our thanks today to the following Contactors, Architect and material men for the cooperation which they have given in the completion of our new House of Worship and express our appreciation for the thorough and workmanlike manner in which each has executed his work and for the pleasant relationships we have had with these builders during the construction.
Mr. W. H. Maurer, Architect
Harries and Bowers, Masons
W. H. Bickerstaff, Carpenter
The Niles Plumbing and Heating Co.
The Buser Art Glass Co.
The Akron Art Stone Co.
D. M. Davis, Painting
The Ridge Electric Co.
The Smith Baldwin Co.
James Smith, Plaster
Meander Coal and Supply Co.
The Bingham Co., Hardware
The Mills Co., Partitions
The Quiet Zone Folding Wall Co.
The C. H. Neff Lumber Co.
The Sterling-Welch Co., Floor Coverings
The Dalzell Bros. Co., Sheet Metal
The Harr-Thayer Iron Co., Steel
The Valley Cities Brick Co., Face Brick
The Federal Clay Products Co., Glazed Brick
The Novelty Lighting Fixture Co.
Emmett Meade, Slate Roofer
D. J. Hughes, Supplies
Stephan Huges, Cement Work
J. D. Fithian, Chairs
The Shelby Cabinet Mfg. Co., Pews
The Allied Products Co., Waterproofing
The Niles Trust Co., The Dollar Savings Bank,
The Home Savings & Loan Co. and the McKinley Savings Bank of Niles, Finance

And to all others who have helped in any way with other work or donated labor, time, trucks or materials, we extend our thanks.

I was pleased to see my grandfather, Robert Meinzen, listed on the Building Finance Committee and my grandmother's brother, W. H. Bickerstaff, as the carpenter. Building this church must have been a huge undertaking. No doubt W. H. had some assistants.

You can view the rest of the pages from the program by clicking on these links: "A Brief Historical Sketch" of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church; About the Stained Glass Windows of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church; and Mineral Ridge Businesses, 1930.

Church Record or Civil Record - Which Date to Use?

I remember that when I was a child or youth there seemed some uncertainty about the year in which my grandfather, William Carl Robert Meinzen, was born. I don't know why there was uncertainty or how the two dates came to be up for discussion.

There was never a discussion about the day and month. That was always February 8. It was the year that was in question: either 1891 or 1892. Grampa claimed his birth year as 1892.

About two years ago I obtained a box of papers from Gramma and Grampa's estate. Among them were two different birth records for Grampa. One was a typed, certified copy of his birth record from Jefferson County, Ohio, dated October 23, 1958. It gave his birth date as February 8, 1892 and indicated that the original record had been made on July 8, 1892. The second record was a typed baptismal certificate from Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church (Zion Lutheran). It stated Grampa's baptismal date as September 15, 1896, and his birth date as February 8, 1891. The church record, also a transcription, was dated September 30, 1958.

It wasn't a question I had been pondering or searching to find the answer to it. There is no question in my mind that my grandfather lived and died between one of those dates and 1979. And there certainly isn't a confusion between him and other men with his name as is the case with some of my older ancestors. Still, it would be good to be accurate....

A year or so ago I was trying to find some of my grandfather's siblings who didn't appear in county birth records. I contacted the church that used to be Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church (which had become Zion Methodist Church some years back) to ask if they had early records from the late 1800s. "Yes, but they are in German," I was told. I gratefully accepted the help of the church historian who searched through the old records for some of the children I was seeking. She sent me photocopies of the records. I hadn't been searching from Grampa's record but there it was among the others -- in German (shown below).

I don't know which, the civil or the church record, is accurate. I understand that during the early years of civil birth registration there was no mandatory time period by which parents had to register their children; parents registered the births whenever they happened to be in the city that was the county seat, whether it was the next week or a year later. I don't know the situation for recording the births of children at churches. If people attended church on a regular basis perhaps the registration would have happened a week or so after the child was born. In general, I think the longer the time between the actual event and the recording of it could make a difference in the accuracy of the record.

So which do you think is more reliable: a church record or a civil record? When the dates are different, how do you choose which date to write on your family group sheet or pedigree chart?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Val's Birthday

The days and the years tumble by so quickly. It seems like only a year or two ago that Val became a part of our family. And now she's the mother of a 4-year-old and a nearly-newborn! And her birthday is today.

I hope you are hugely celebrated today, Val! Happy, happy birthday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Three Sisters

These girls are my mother, Audrey Meinzen, and her sisters.

My mother, Audrey, was born in June, 1915.
Her sister, Geraldine, was born in November, 1918.
The blonde sister was born in July, 1921.

There are 3 1/2 years between Audrey and Geraldine and 6 years between Audrey and her blonde sister.

Somehow, as I look at these sisters, the ages don't fit the sizes. How old were they in this photo? Either my mom was mature for her age or her sisters were young for their ages. If the blonde sister was 6 then my mother was 12. Don't you think she looks older than 12? And don't you think the blonde sister looks younger than 6? Do you have a guess at their ages or the year this might have been taken?

My mom's mother, Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen, grew up in a family where studio portraits were taken on a regular basis, perhaps once every year or two. I think she carried on the tradition as much as she was able with her own children. One of the early photographs of my mother, taken when she was about 6 months old, is framed in a large oval, perhaps 16" x 24". I occasionally wonder how my grandmother managed to afford what seems to me such an extravagance. And I wonder where she hung it and how long it was there.

I try to imagine my grandmother as a young mother, getting 3 girls ready to have their portraits taken. Their shoes are mirror-shiney and their dresses are ironed and creaseless. It must have been a big event to go be photographed. They probably travelled by car from Mineral Ridge to the studio of "Alfonsi, Photographist" in Niles, Ohio. My grandfather would have driven because my grandmother never had a driver's license. Were the girls excited and giggly in the back seat or quiet and pensive? Did their mother caution them to be very, very careful to keep their dresses smooth and unwrinkled?

When the above portrait was taken the girls also sat for individual photographs. When developed they measured a long and thin 3 7/8" x 9 5/8". I had a copy of my mother's but only recently learned that all the girls were photographed separately. My cousin loaned me some family photos and I found one of her mother, Geraldine, in the same size as the one of my mother. I suspect that the blonde sister or her family still has her photograph. At right are the two portraits, cropped because the lower third of the photographs were faded out by the photographer. I almost like them better than the group photo.

Confession time: The top photograph and the one of my mother are digital photographs of color photocopies. Years ago my mother loaned me the top photograph and the individual one of her. She wanted them back and I didn't have access to a scanner (if they were even common then) so I made color photocopies. They didn't scan very well so I decided to make digital photographs. They're not great but they're not too bad. The image of Geraldine was scanned from the original photograph.

If you'd like to look at other old photographs and read about them, I invite you to go to Sepia Saturday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reviewing Marriage Records

After I found the announcement of my grandparent's marriage license in a 1914 newspaper the other day I was excited to learn that my grandfather was living in Steubenville before he went to Trumbull County, Ohio, to marry my grandmother. I thought this was new news to me but as I was filing the newspaper article in chronological order with other documents from their lives, I realized that I had 3 other pieces of paper with marriage information for them. I purchased them about 4 years ago when I first began working on family history.

The Lesson: It's very valuable to review documents in your possession after you've had more experience. Things you didn't notice the first time because of lack of experience or lack of enough information may suddenly help fill in a gap or give you insight when viewed with a more experienced eye. When reviewing multiple sources of information from the same event it sometimes happens that each will give different information.

Below are three documents for the marriage of William Carl Robert Meinzen and Emma V. Bickerstaff on September 8, 1914, along with a partial transcription of the first. The words in bold type are the parts of the form completed by the applicants or others.

At right is a photocopy of the original handwritten marriage license application and marriage certificate from the Probate Court of Trumbull County, Ohio, No. 3764.

"In the matter of William Carl Robert Meinzen and Emma Virginia Bickerstaff....
"William Carl Robert Meinzen is 22 years of age on the 8 day of Feb 1914, his residence is Stubenville [sic], Ohio, his occupation is Barber, his father's name is Henry Carl Meinzen, his mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Armitage,... he was not previously married.

"Emma Virginia Bickerstaff is 21 years of age, on the 6 day of July 1914, her residence is Mineral Ridge, Trumbull County, O., her place of birth is Stubenville [sic], Ohio, her occupation is lives at home, her father's name is Edward Jesse Bickerstaff, her mother's maiden name was Mary Thompson,... she was not previously married.

"It is expected that don't know is to solemnize the marriage...."

Signatures of both Emma Virginia Bickerstaff and Wm. Carl Robert Meinzen appear at the bottom. The application was completed on September 8, 1914 and Nellie B. Elder [barely legible], Deputy Clerk, signed the form.

Rev. John W. Moore signed the Marriage Certificate stating that he solemnized the marriage of William Earl [sic] Robert Meinzen with Miss Emma Virginia Bickerstaff on September 8, 1914. The certificate was filed on September 9, 1914. E. O. Dilley, Probate Judge, also signed the form (or had someone sign it for him).

When they left the courthouse after filling about the above form, did Wm. C. Robert and Emma leave armed with the Marriage License shown to the left? Did they take this to the minister as proof of having filed paperwork in order to marry?

I find it very interesting that they didn't know who was going to marry them. It seems like weddings these days take months and months of planning, arranging, organizing, and general preparation. That was obviously not the case for my grandparents or, at the very least, they would have scheduled an appointment with a minister.

What was their wedding like? Did parents attend? Did they elope? Did they have friends surrounding them and wishing them well? How I hope!

I also find it interesting that there are no witnesses' signatures on the marriage certificate, something that I thought was common practice. Was it not always necessary to have witnesses, or was it not always necessary for the witnesses to sign the certificate?

The "Certified Copy of Marriage Record" which is shown to the right is essentially the same as one they completed by hand except for one change. The original marriage certificate completed by the minister has "William Earl Robert Meinzen." This transcribed record has "William Carl Robert Meinzen." I know it sometimes happens that the transcriptions are not true to the originals. In this case the transcription was accurate and the original was not.

If you'd like to see larger versions of any of the images in this post you can right click on the image and it will take the place of this post on the same screen. When you're finished viewing it, you can press the back arrow on your browser and it will come back to this post.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marriage Licenses Announced - Meinzen-Bickerstaff

The marriage licenses of four couples were announced in the Warren [Ohio] Weekly Tribune on Thursday, September 10, 1914. They were on page 1, column 5, at the bottom. The names of particular interest to me are the last couple, Wm. C. R. Meinzer and Emma V. Brickenstaff. But the names should have been Wm. C. R. Meinzen and Emma V. Bickerstaff! This announcement was published two days after their marriage on September 8, 1914.


"W. A. Hutchings and Margaret Jones, Niles.

"Wm. J. Edwards and Susan Draymond, Bloomfield.

"Wm. J. Jones, Mineral Ridge, and Maude D. Pond, Warren.

"Wm. C. R. Meinzer, Steubenville and Emma V. Brickenstaff, Mineral Ridge."

I spent the better part of last Friday at the Ohio Historical Society Archives Library searching through newspapers for obituaries and wedding announcements. I came home nearly empty-handed. I had hoped to find a wedding announcement for my grandparents and felt just slightly discouraged to find only a marriage license announcement.

As I was thinking about it on the way home I realized that these few brief words fill an empty spot in my knowledge about my grandparents and their whereabouts just before their marriage: Gramma's family moved to Mineral Ridge before 1914 (and after the census was taken in 1910); Grampa was still living in Steubenville before they were married.

I would really like to know now is how they met; and whether they were engaged before Gramma left Steubenville or whether Grampa followed Gramma to the Ridge because he didn't want to live without her. Too bad there aren't some undiscovered love letters somewhere! Incurable romantic, you say? Yes, indeed! But I stick with the facts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Churches of Mineral Ridge

Main Street runs north and south through Mineral Ridge, Ohio. As its name implies it is the main street of the little village. During the years that I lived in the Ridge the address of every important business, store, school, and church was on Main Street. I don't think I could ever call the Ridge a thriving community but, for its small population of less than 3,000 people, the churches thrived.

There were four churches with independent buildings in the Ridge. I think there were other, smaller congregations in later years that met in unused storefronts, but there were only the four church buildings with larger congregations.

The church furthest north was Saint Mary's Church. It was a small, white frame building. The lower level of the church must have been tall because I remember a good flight of steps leading to the elevated front door. I tried to find a photograph or drawing of the building showing it as I remember it but was unsuccessful. At right is a photograph of a newer building which is much, much larger than the church I remember -- perhaps 3 or 4 times larger.

There's the briefest history of the church at Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown which tells me that the original church was started by Irish immigrants in 1870, and that it was a mission church from 1870 to 1881.

I was never inside St. Mary's Church and my memories are primarily limited to the little festival that was held on the church grounds every summer. My older sister went but my parents never wanted me to go. Finally, one year, permission was granted and I enjoyed the festival with my sister and her friends. It was definitely a little festival.

A little further south and on the west side of Main Street was (and still is) the Presbyterian Church. This postcard is from 1913, but I don't think the church was rebuilt from that time to now. If someone from the Ridge reads this, perhaps he/she can comment about whether this photograph is of the same church that still stands.

Our family didn't attend this church but I went into this church several times, perhaps for Girl Scouts or school meetings.

The Methodist Church was a long catty-corner from the Presbyterian Church and just around the corner from Furnace Street, where my family lived. This was the church I attended as a child and youth. In my mother's papers I recently found the dedication program for the church and will share additional information about it in a separate post.

The building is beautiful, both inside and out. In fact, the sanctuary was exquisitely beautiful. The rose window which you can see on the left side of the postcard was stunning. All of the tall windows that you see running along the side of the building to the left of the entry were stained glass images of the apostles and prophets. (In fact, every window in the church was stained glass!) To my child-eyes, sitting inside that church on a sunny Sunday morning, it was a wonder of cascading brilliant colors. It was easy enough to ignore the minister's sermon and focus on the images in the windows and the dazzle of light that came through them. The rose window, high above the altar, was particularly beautiful. Was there a predominant color? I think not. Perhaps my love of combinations of bright colors used together stems from looking at that rose window so often.

Though I'm no longer a Methodist it makes me sad to know that the church was recently closed, the congregation moved to another town, and the building sold at auction. I hope they don't tear it down!

These two churches, the Presbyterian and the Methodist, both had bells in their towers. On Sunday mornings we heard the bells ringing to call us to church a half hour before Sunday School started. During the week I think the bells rang at noon and at 6:00 p.m. There was never conflict in the timing. Perhaps one church's bells rang at noon and another at 6 p.m.

The last church, the Church of Christ, was much further south and on the same side of the street as the Methodist Church. It sat (and still sits) very close to Main Street with just a sidewalk between the church and the highway. My brother said there was talk of widening Main Street. If that should happen, I don't know what this church would do.

We never attended religious meetings at this church, either, but our Girl Scout troop met in its basement every week. We entered the ground-level doors that you can see on the right side and went down the steps. The basement was a large open room where we set up tables and chairs as we needed them. We had such fun there.

I don't remember this church having bells or chimes but perhaps it did. It was far enough south from our house that they would have been only a distant sound.

I hope none of the rest of these churches become known only in memory and history as the Methodist Church may soon be. The churches - and the high school - seemed like anchors in the Ridge: with those buildings in place one knew the Ridge wasn't going to disappear.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Refreshing An Indelible Image

In my life there have been events that were continually repeated, events I saw so often that I learned them by heart and they became indelible images in my brain. I begin to notice, as time passes and I grow older, that a light fog sometimes comes between me and the memories. And then I see a photograph and the scene is as fresh as the last time I saw it in real life.

Our house was a house of order and part of that order was this closet in our kitchen next to the back door. As soon as we came in the house, we hung our coats in the closet and put our hats and mittens on the shelf, ready to wear them when we left again. My mother also stored large, lidded metal cans of sugar and flour in this closet, ready to refill her canisters on the kitchen counter. In the fall, there were always bags of Northern Spy apples sitting on the floor of the closet. They stayed cool and fresh there because the unheated closet was against two outside walls. Apples were our after-school snack -- our only after-school snack. So "you won't spoil your dinner," my mother used to say.

This is my father, Lee Doyle, standing in front of the closet getting ready to leave. Dad always wore a hat when he went outside: summer, winter, rain, snow, heat, humidity, he always wore a hat, though not always the same hat. In summer he wore straw or cotton. In winter he wore felt or wool. His work hats were baseball-style caps with a brim on the front. He wore those to work at Copperweld Steel or when he was working at home cleaning gutters, mowing the lawn, or painting the house. Otherwise, his hats were always grey or black fedoras. When he was younger the brims were wider; as he grew older, he chose hats with slightly narrower brims (as in this photo). His hats had no feathers.

He took the jacket or coat out of the closet, put it on, adjusted it, then zipped it. Or if it was a sweater, he buttoned it. When he put on his hat, I remember him adjusting it just so: it didn't perch, neither did it sit too low, but it was low enough and tight enough that the wind didn't blow it off. He took the car keys from on top of the refrigerator (to the left in this photograph) and then out the door to the car or the garage or to walk to the post office he went. I suspect that because it was April when this photo was taken, it was warm enough outside that he didn't need a jacket.

Things we see thousands of times we learn by heart. By heart I remember my father putting on his jacket and hat. What a commonplace thing to remember. What a commonplace thing to photograph! And yet it brings pleasure to clear the fog and refresh my memory of that small action.

This is a Sepia Saturday post. You can find links to others' photos and memories there.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mr. Max

My nephew, Max, turns 5 today. Doesn't he look like an intense and intent boy?! I think he helps his parents stay active.

Happy, happy birthday, Max! Celebrate big!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Immense 6-Pound Radish

You may very well wonder what a six-pound radish is doing on a family history blog. I'll tell you.

A few years ago, when I was still new to family history, offered all their databases free for a week or a weekend. I was not a subscriber so I was thrilled to be able to search so many databases for so many ancestors. And search, I did - morning, noon, and night.

The most exciting prize of my search was the following article, published in the Steubenville Herald-Star on October 15, 1898. When I found the article and looked at it on microfilm I realized that it was, in fact, a very tiny article, which made it all the more thrilling that found it for me.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is the article about Henry's radish.

"A Big Radish.

"There is on exhibition in the HERALD-STAR window an immense white radish which weights six pounds. It is one of many grown by Henry Meinzen on the Bair farm in Cross Creek township, near Mt. Calvary cemetery, and is from seed purchased at C. E. Blackburn's drug store in this city. The radish grew to its present size without any cultivation."

After the excitement of "wow, my great-grandfather's famous" dimmed, I started to think about his radish. I couldn't help but chuckle. Henry Meinzen's son, W. C. Robert, grew a healthy garden for years, but he loved to see the vegetables grow to their largest and most beautiful size -- which is often beyond the most tender time to eat them. Did son take after father?

There are a few questions I wish I could ask Great-Grampa Henry, pictured at right:
Were your immense radishes round or long?
Exactly how large (in diameter, length, or both) IS a 6-pound radish?
Who ate them and how were they prepared? Or were they too woody to eat? Were they very hot?
How did you happen not to notice the radishes growing so large in your garden?

Imagine with me the story in picture book format (illustrated in the style of Patricia Polacco) about the events surrounding this newspaper article. Imagine: Henry, his wife, Lizzie, and 9 children still at home, sit at the kitchen table discussing what he will plant in his garden and where he will buy his seeds. He hitches the horses to the wagon, Lizzie gets the children and herself ready, and they all drive to town. We see him and several of the children walk into the store, then out of the store with their bag of seeds. We see Henry tilling his garden, preparing the soil - possibly with the help of some of the children. He makes neat rows and plants early crops, then some later crops. And he watches them grow. Lizzie comments that she really likes the vegetables best when they are young and tender and asks Henry not to let them get too big. Henry harvests some of the early vegetables. He and Lizzie make sauerkraut from the early cabbages. The other vegetables are harvested as they mature and Lizzie cans some to preserve the harvest. Perhaps Henry sells some of the vegetables in town. In late summer Henry plants a second crop. Later in the fall he begins to turn over the soil so it will be ready for next spring. Suddenly he finds the radishes he planted months ago. Oh, they are large and beautiful! Radishes to be proud of! The children are excited about these prize radishes. He drives them to town to show them off at the newspaper office and they put one in the window. When he digs up the rest, rinses them off, and takes them into the house for Lizzie to use, she, too, is surprised and amazed. They decide to enjoy a radish with their lunch. We have to laugh at the faces they make as they gnaw on the hugely overgrown and tough radishes. Lizzie silently remembers how she told Henry that she likes the vegetables young and tender. The last image in the story is Henry finding the tiny article about his big radishes in the newspaper and thinking about how tough it was to eat.

A great children's book, huh?

I hope Grampa Henry has a sense of humor and doesn't mind my chuckling about his radishes and sharing the story far and wide. I certainly wouldn't want to offend him. And, of course, he must have enjoyed the limelight or he wouldn't have taken a radish to the Herald-Star office or agreed to let them put it in their window. All of literate Steubenville read about his radish when the paper was published. Now all who find this blog can read about it again.

Aside from the humor of the 6-pound radishes, I realized that this brief article put my g-grandfather in a specific place at a specific time, which is always a good thing for a family historian. I've had little success locating Bair Farm or information about it, but Mount Calvary Cemetery is still there, west of the city of Steubenville. The 1900 census tells me that Henry was a gardener living in Cross Creek Township and that he rented a farm. Cross Creek Township surrounds the west and south sides of Steubenville. With this article, I have a better idea where in all of Cross Creek Township he lived.

One additional note of interest is that while searching on microfilm for the article about Henry and his radish, I also found an advertisement for seeds from C. E. Blackburn's drug store where Henry purchased his seeds. It was published in The Steubenville Herald-Star, Friday, March 4, 1898, p. 5. The print is very small here but if you click on the image it will enlarge and be legible.

Now, if only there were a photograph of Grampa Henry with one of his immense white radishes....

Photo of round radishes (White Hailstone variety) is from Garden Stuff. Photo of long radishes is from Suttons.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Timeline for Harry Hepler

This is an effort to compile in one place all the information available to me at this time for Harry H. Hepler, husband of Ida Gerner. I'd like to reunite Harry, Ida, and daughter Lucille, at least on paper, to complete their little family circle.

1876 - Mar
Harry H. Hepler born March, 1876, in Penna. (1900 census)

Harry H. Hepler and Ida Gerner marry (1900 census)

1900 - Jun
Harry H. Hepler, living with wife Ida in Elwood City, Lawrence County, Penna., married 0 years; born March 1876 in Penna; glassblower (1900 census)

1904 - Mar 27
Daughter Lucille born in Franklin, Harrison, Ohio (familysearch)

1904 - Oct 9
Ida dies in Butler County, Penna. (Ida’s Butler Eagle obituary. Harry is not mentioned in the obituary.)

1912 - Feb 2
Daughter Lucille dies in Jefferson Twp., Butler, Penna. (Butler Eagle obituary)

Below MAY be Ida Gerner’s widow Harry Hepler and his second wife, Rose/Rosanna Heim/Hyme:

1900 - Jun
Rose Hyme, 15 years, living with mother, Magdline Hyme & sister, Margaret Townsend, in Hocking Twp. South & East, Fairfield, Ohio (1900 census)

1906 - Jul 6
H. H. Hepler (b. 1877) marries Rose Heim (b. 1885) in Covington, Kenton, KY
(“Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979" on

Daughter Margery born (age 12 in 1920 census)

1908 - Aug 18
Daughter Lillian born (age 11 in 1920 census; year from Ohio Births on familysearch; whole date from Fairfield County Birth Records where mother is named as Anna Heim)

Daughter Harriet born (age 9 in 1920 census; 20 on 1930 census)

1912 - Feb 2
Harry and Ida's daughter, Lucille Hepler, dies of typhoid fever at the home of her grandparents, Fred and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, in Jefferson Twp., Butler County, Penna. (Butler Eagle obituary.)

Daughter Geraldine born (age 7 in 1920 census; 18 on 1930 census)

Daughter Gertrude born (age 3 ?/12 in 1920 census; 14 on 1930 census)

Son Harry H. born (age 0 in 1920 census; 10 on 1930 census)

Son Bennie born (age 6 in 1930 census)

Daughter Patty born (age 5 in 1930 census)

1920 - Jan
Harry Hepler lives with wife, Rosanna; is 43 years old; lives at 161 Washington Ave., Lancaster, Fairfield, Ohio; works as blower in auto lens works (1920 census)

Harry Hepler, 54 years, lives with wife, Rosanna, in Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio; children are Harriet (20), Geraldine (18), Gertrude (14), Harry (10), Bennie (6), and Patty (5) (1930 census)

1945 - Jul 10
Rose Ann Hepler dies, age 60 years, 2 months, 25 days; husband is Harry Hepler, living at 223 E. Main St., Rushville; burial in St. Mary Cemetery, Lancaster, Ohio [Father: Amos Hyme; mother: Magiline Minninger] (Ohio death certificate)

1952 - Nov 17
Geraldine Hepler Everett dies (familysearch)

1958 - Dec 25
Harry Hepler dies (St. Mary Parish church records)
in Nashville, TN; survivors are wife Margaret; son Harry H. Heplar [sic], Jr., of Huntsville, Ala.; daughters Mrs. Harold Kittrell of Columbus; Mrs. Lloyd Jordan of Columbus; Mrs. Bernice Savage of Cleveland; Mrs. Ralph Bibler of Junction City; Mrs. James Larkin of Nashville; and Mrs. Wallace Cly of Lancaster. Interment in St. Mary Cemetery, Lancaster. (Lancaster Eagle-Gazette obituary).

I have requested a copy of Harry's and Rosanna's marriage certificate from Kenton County, Kentucky. Knowing that Harry had been previously married may give some credence to the possibility that this Harry Hepler is Ida Gerner's husband/widow.

I hope that someone who is a descendant of Harry Hepler will contact me after reading this blog post.

Granite Mountain Records Vault, Storage for FamilySearch

Have you ever wondered what the Granite Mountain Records Vault of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks like? Or how they process requests for microfilm copies that you order at the Family History Centers around the world? Or what FamilySearch is doing to preserve images of records from around the world? Here's an opportunity to take a video tour and learn more.

In her post, Genealogical Trick or Treat, TK of Before My Time, mentioned a post about the Granite Mountain Vault which houses the genealogical records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I sent her the link to this post (originally published on September 10, 2010) to let her know she could "tour" the vault.  She told me the links were broken but that the videos were still available on youtube.  She suggested I fix the links and republish.  So here you have an updated blog post with two interesting, brief youtube videos.  Enjoy!


Copyright © 2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Half-Orphan, Edna G. Hendricks Pugh

Edna is the daughter of John Harrison and Hannah (Meinzen) Hendricks. She was the oldest of 3 sisters and was born in January, 1908. Her sister Elizabeth Zerelda was born in May, 1909, and Anna Bell was born in August, 1910. When Hannah passed away 2 weeks after Anna's birth, 3 little girls became half-orphans.

It's unclear where the girls lived immediately after their mother's death. Perhaps they stayed with their father, or with their father's family; or maybe it was with her mother's parents or one of her sisters. When little Anna Bell died in March, 1911, she was living with her father's family.

By January, 1920, at the time of the census, Edna was living with Hannah's parents, Henry and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen. That surely must have been a difficult time for Edna, just 11 years old, as she watched her grandmother's face become disfigured from the effects of cancer of the skin. Elizabeth passed away in June, 1920, and in July, when her will was filed in probate court, Edna and Elizabeth Zerelda were both living in Ambridge, Penna. I don't know with whom they lived in Ambridge and I lose track of Edna's whereabouts between July, 1920 and 1930.

On November 25, 1930, Edna G. Hendricks married Russell S. Pugh in Wheeling, West Virginia. She was 22, he was 23. They'd both been living in Steubenville, Ohio.

My aunt remembers that Edna and Russell moved to and lived in Maryland some time after their marriage. The April, 1941, obituary of John Harrison Hendricks, Edna's father, names her and indicates that she was living in Baltimore Maryland. So my search continued with Maryland in mind.

I haven't quite been telling this search in sequential order. When I began a search for Edna's death information I had found only the year of her birth based on census records, not an exact date of birth. I searched the SSDI and found a person who could have been Edna but without knowing an exact date of birth and a death date, it was hard to tell. I stored away the information from the SSDI until I could search further.

Searching transcriptions of birth records I found Edna G. Hendricks, born 28 January, 1908, with parents John H. and Hannah (Meinzen) Hendricks. Having this information indicated to me that the person I found on the SSDI was probably my Edna (though her name had become Edna H. Pugh). The last address of the Edna H. Pugh of the SSDI record was Easton, Talbot, Maryland. She died on February 17, 1997. I suspected that this was my Edna but I still had some work to do.

In my mother's papers I recently found a funeral card for Russell Sage Pugh, who died on June 3, 1963. The funeral service was held at Dundalk Presbyterian Church on June 6, 1963. He was interred in Bel Air Memorial Gardens. Mom had written at the top of the card "cousin by marriage."

I wrote to Bel Air Memorial Gardens to ask about death dates and burial information for Edna and Russsell. I received a prompt reply telling me that Russell was buried there on June 6, 1963. For Edna there is no burial record but there is a bronze memorial with the date 1997 on it which was purchased by a family member that year. The grounds superintendent checked the gravesite for a burial vault but found that there was not one. They conclude that Edna was cremated and that the family has her ashes.

I wish I could let it rest with that information and say done, but I can't. To feel good about the conclusion of this search I want to find, at the very least, an obituary that tells Edna's death date and names her husband and parents. At the most, I want a death certificate.

My other search options include writing to the church where Russell's funeral service was held; contacting the funeral home who took care of Russell's funeral in hopes they took care of Edna's body, too; and searching area newspapers for either a death notice, funeral notice, or obituary. Do you have other ideas where I can enquire for information?

You may think it strange that I'm searching for my mother's cousins. Some of these family members tug at my heart simply because they had no descendants. They have no one to remember that they lived and loved, that they laughed with joy and wept with sorrow. How did Edna manage all those long 34 years from the time of Russell's death until her own? I see part of the job of family historian as seeking not only those individual ancestors in my direct line but other family members, too. They all deserve to be remembered.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another Birthday to Celebrate

My sister, Marsha, is celebrating her birthday today.

She graduated from the same nursing school as our mother, though in the interim of so many years between their experiences there, the school changed names.

I'll tell you one reason why I think she's a fabulous nurse. She told me that work is like therapy for her! How many of us can say that about our jobs?

I hope you have a great birthday today, Marsha. I hope your children and grandchildren joyfully celebrate you!

Happy Birthday!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Twins Run in the Family

I was 6 or 7 when I first saw this photograph of my father, Lee Doyle. I didn't know anything about double exposures or playing with negatives. I also didn't know anything about my father's childhood.

I exclaimed, "But Dad's not a twin!"

Someone older than me said, "Yes, he is."

"No, he's not," I said. "If he's a twin how come I've never met his twin?"

"Just because you haven't met his twin doesn't mean he doesn't have one."

My dad, or possibly my mother, chimed in at that point and said that yes, indeed, Dad was a twin, but his twin was a sister and she had died when she was only a few days old.

My father's grandmother, Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, had twins, Alonzo and Alfonzo Gerner. They were born in July, 1874. They are identical and family members who knew them say it was impossible to tell them apart in photographs. Alfonzo and his brothers were the focus of a recent post. Alfonzo was 20 or 30 years older in that post than in this photograph.

I know it's common for mothers to dress twins in identical outfits. I think in the photo of these twins, they are dressed alike, but also dresssed like all the other sons in the family. I doubt Elvira concerned herself about making sure their clothes were the same especially considering that she had 14 other children to clothe. In this photograph I think they look similar but not identical -- except for the pose.

Elvira had twins, Alonzo and Alfonzo.
Elvira's daughter, Beulah, had twins, Lee and Leila.

And Lee's daughter, my sister, had twins. Of all of the twins on that side of the family, only one set is identical.

My sister was double-barreled when it came to having twins: there are twins on my mother's side, too. Mom's grandfather, Edward Jesse Bickerstaff, was a twin. He and his sister, Alice, were born in April, 1871. Alice died less than a month later.

These days both twins generally survive, but a hundred or more years ago it was more common that one would survive but not both. In the case of Alonzo and Alfonzo, it's amazing that both survived infancy, childhood, and lived to adulthood.

Do you have twins in your living family or among your ancestors?

About the photo of my father: How do you suppose it was made? Do you think it is a double exposure? How could he have positioned himself so perfectly?

You can find links to more old photos and thoughts about them at Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Half-Orphan, William O. Henderson

Elizabeth Meinzen's estate file mentioned 4 grandchildren. All were left with only one parent at young ages.  In this post I'm going to share my search for one of them, William O. Henderson, with the hope that I can find him after 1958.

Before I write about William O., I'm going to back up to his parents and my search for them, and then on to my search for him.

William O.'s mother is Bertha Meinzen, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen. Bertha was born on October 7, 1888, in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.

On July 11, 1906, at the age of 17, she married William R. Henderson. From the marriage record we know that Bertha was working as a dressmaker in Steubenville.  William R.'s occupation is not named but his parents are Richard W. Henderson and Jennie Robison.  William R. was 20 at the time of their marriage.  Because he was under-age a "Marriage Consent" was required.  There is only one consent form, completed and signed by his parents.  (I was surprised that Bertha's parents did not also complete a form since she was even younger, but there was not one attached to the marriage record.)

In April, 1910, at the time of the census, William R. and Bertha were living with William R.s' father.  They had an 11-month-old son, William O.

In May, 1918, Bertha became ill with erysipelas and died several days later.  A contributing cause of her death as stated on her death certificate was carbuncle.

With his mother's death William O. became a half-orphan.  Perhaps because his father was working full-time, William O. needed to live somewhere else.  How soon he moved out of his father's home, we don't know, but by 1920 he was living with his mother's older sister, Lula, and her husband, Charles.  Also living there was his cousin, Zerelda, the half-orphan daughter of his mother's sister, Hannah.  Lula and Charles had no children of their own.  Both were good-natured and easy-going but I can only imagine the challenge of caring for a grieving 10-year-old boy and a motherless 10-year-old girl who had lived with them since she was a toddler.

Sometime between the February, 1920, census and July, 1920, when his grandmother Elizabeth Meinzen's will was filed in court, William O. moved to East Cleveland, Ohio.  Did he move with his father?  With one of his paternal relatives?  He's lost to me.

William O.'s father, William R., stayed in (or returned to) Steubenville where he and his new wife, Dora, were recorded in the 1924 Steubenville City Directory.  At the time of William R.'s death in September, 1958, he was married to Mary (McHugh) Henderson.  William O. appears in that obituary, listed as living in Brooklyn, New York.  What happened to William O. between July, 1920, and September, 1958?  I'd like to know so I can put this little family back together again.  More than that, I'd like to know when and where he died (assuming that he didn't live past 100); and if he had a wife, children, and grandchildren.

To that end I've been searching for William O. Henderson.  It's not much to go on but this is what I know about William O.
  • His parents are Bertha Meinzen and William R. Henderson
  • He was born in 1909 (possibly March, April, or May) in Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
  • The "O." of his middle name has been included in every reference I've found
  • He was living in East Cleveland in July, 1920
  • He was living in Brooklyn, New York, in September, 1958 (which is my most recent reference)
My searches so far have been few and limited.  I'd laid this family aside for a while.  When I recently realized that no one would know I was searching for him unless his name was on the internet, I decided to write this post.

I have not yet found him in the 1930 U.S. Census.  Did he stop using the "O." for a while?  Of course, with a name as common as William Henderson, he could be very hard to find without the "O."

There is a William O. Henderson at Rootsweb SSDI on  This is his information:
Name: William O. Henderson
Birth: 24 May 1909
Death: 22 Nov 1990
Age: 81
Last Record of Address: 11231 [zip] (Brooklyn, Kings, NY)
Last Benefit: (none specified)
Issued: New Jersey
SSN: 137-05-6762

This could be "my" William O. Henderson but I can't tell without more information.  If I can find an obituary, a death certificate, a burial record, any of those would help me learn more about this individual and help me determine if he's the man I seek.

Do you readers have any suggestions of other sources to search?

If anyone reading this is related to this particular William O. Henderson, I hope you will either leave a comment at the end of this post or use the "Contact" tab on the left side of the screen and leave me a message.  Whichever way you contact me, please tell me your name and email address.  If you do it in the comments section, it will be public; if you do it using the "contact" tab, it will be private, since that message will come directly to my email.

A note about the SSDI on rootsweb/ancestry:  Yesterday I searched for William O. Henderson and his name appeared first on the list.  Today I searched for William O. Henderson and received the message that the name matched no individuals.  Yet when I typed in the social security number that I'd copied yesterday, his name appeared.  If you don't find who you're looking for one day, try another day.  The search engine seems to have good days and bad days. 


 Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Family Named in the Estate File of Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen

Yesterday I posted Elizabeth Meinzen's will which she wrote on March 23, 1920. She passed away on June 26, 1920.

On July 6, 1920, Elizabeth's daughter, Isabella (Belle) Hashman, filed the will and an application to admit the will to the Probate Court of Jefferson County, Ohio. A section of that application names Elizabeth's family members, calling them "her only next of kin." Below are the people named.
  • Henry Meinzen, her husband, living in Steubenville, Ohio
  • Henry Meinzen, Jr., son, Youngstown, Ohio
  • Isabella Hashman, daughter, Steubenville, Ohio
  • Elizabeth W. Harris, daughter, Steubenville, Ohio
  • Lulu Sticker, daughter, Steubenville, Ohio
  • W. C. Robert Meinzen, son, Warren, Ohio
  • Naomi Rohme [sic], daughter, Steubenville, Ohio
  • Zerelda Hendricks, 11 years, grand-daughter, Ambridge, Pa.
  • Edna Hendricks, 12 years, grand-daughter, Ambridge, Pa.
  • William Henderson, 11, grand-son, East Cleveland, Ohio
  • Elizabeth Anna Meinzen, grand-daughter, Garretson, Pa.
Five of Elizabeth's grandchildren became half-orphans before they were 8 years old; 4 when their mothers (Hannah (Meinzen) Hendricks and Bertha (Meinzen) Henderson) died; 1 when her father (Jacob Meinzen) died. Of those 5 children, one died in infancy. The other half-orphans are the last 4 people named above.

Finding all the members of a family is important to me. With the help of my aunt, another of Elizabeth's granddaughters, I searched and was able to find information about Zerelda and her family. Tracking down Elizabeth Anna was much harder. My aunt remembered that Elizabeth Anna's mother had remarried and remembered her mother's new surname. Knowing where Elizabeth Anna lived in 1920 was a great help in putting pieces of information together. I was able to find her and her family and correspond with her.

Finding Edna Hendricks and William Henderson have been more difficult. To date, I've been unsuccessful. I will do separate posts about my efforts to find them.

Celebrating Adam's Birthday

This is my nephew, Adam. This photo was taken when he was in kindergarten. A little boy in the photo then, now he's a dad with two little boys of his own. And today's his birthday.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Adam! I hope you are well-celebrated and I wish you blessings for the coming year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Last Will & Testament of Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen

In the Name of the Benevolent Father of all:-

I, Elizabeth Meinzen of the city of Steubenville, county of Jefferson and State of Ohio, being of full age and of sound mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament;

Item l. I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid out of my estate as soon as practicable after the time of my decease.

Item ll. I give, devise and bequeath to my husband Henry Meinzen, during his natural life, all the property, real and personal, of every kind and description, wheresoever and whatsoever it may be, which I may own or have the right to dispose of at the time of my decease, except that bequeathed by Item IV hereof, together with the right to sell or dispose of any or all of the same if necessary for his comfortable care and keep, and direct that his debts for doctor's bills and funeral expenses be paid out of my estate.

Item lll. After the death of my husband, Henry Meinzen, I give, devise and bequeath to my sons and daughters Henry Meinzen, Isabel Hashman, Wilhelmina Harris, Lulu Stickler [sic], Robert Meinzen and Naomi Rohme [sic], share and share alike, whatever may be left or remain of the estate so devised and bequeathed by me to my said husband.

Item lV. To my grand-daughter, Elizabeth Anna Meinzen, I give and bequeath the sum of one hundred ($100.00) dollars, and direct my executrix to deposit said sum in a bank at interest, tobe [sic] paid to my said grand-daughter when she reaches the age of 21 years, But if she dies before reaching that age then said sum is to revert to my estate and be paid to my husband, Henry Meinzen, if he be then living, or in case he be then dead, to be paid in equal shares to my children named in Item III hereof.

Item V. I make, nominate and appoint my daughter, Isabel Hashman, to be the executrix of this my last will and testament, and I request that no bond be required of her as such.

Dated at Steubenville, Ohio, this twenty-third day of March, A. D. 1920.
Elizabeth X Meinzen

Signed and acknowledged by the said Elizabeth Meinzen as and for her last will and testament in our presence, and by us subscribed as attesting witnesses in her presence and at her request and in the presence of each other, this 23rd day of March, A.D. 1920.

M. H. Francis residing at Steubenville, Ohio
Sara Mae Crawford residing at Steubenville, Ohio

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Elizabeth passed away on June 26, 1920. The proceedings to probate the will began on July 6, 1920. I was surprised to find that illiterate Elizabeth had a will and her husband, Henry, did not.

This is the first estate file I've found. Because of the information in the file, I was able to find several of Elizabeth's descendants who, until that time, had been hidden; however, I'm still searching for William O. Henderson and Edna Hendricks Pugh, who moved away from Steubenville, Ohio.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the 7th Grade in 1927-1928

7th Grade, Mineral Ridge School,
Mineral Ridge, Ohio
School Year 1927-1928

Audrey Meinzen, my mother,
is in the 2nd row from the back, right end.

I found this class photograph in my mother's photo album last spring. It was taken about 82 years ago. I am a little disappointed that it appears so small on the screen, especially considering that the original is at least 5" x 7" in size. (Some of the other photos I've posted appear as large as this one even though the originals are only 2" x 3".) Still, if you left-click on the photo, you'll be able to see a larger version of it. I was pleased to be able to clearly see the faces of the students (or would they have been called pupils in 1928?).

There seem to be some close friendships among the students. Notice the 3 boys in the front, 4th through 6th from the left. And the two girls on the front row, 2nd and 3rd from the right. A few other students seem to have their heads tipped together and look like they could be close friends. Still others look a little unhappy. Are they standing by non-friends? (Isn't that how it went in 7th grade? You never knew from one day to the other about friends.) One boy stands completely alone in the center. The man on the left with the bow tie is C. O. Taylor, the superintendent.

Just recently I was looking through some other papers and memorabilia that my mother saved and found a 1928 school yearbook, "The Ridge Mirror." It also has a 7th grade class photograph and beneath it the students are identified by name. I was hoping that I could scan and enlarge that photograph and by comparing both photos, learn the names of the students in the above photo. The yearbook image was not clear enough to give a good copy. However, below you'll see the cover of the yearbook and two pages from inside. (Don't bother to enlarge them unless you just want to read the writing....)

The 1928 Mineral Ridge High School graduating class had 16 students; all but 2 were females. Mineral Ridge wasn't a particularly rural community but it was a township school which had students not only from the village of Mineral Ridge but from outlying areas that were not part of other towns and cities in the township. It's possible that the young men who might have been in the upper grades had left school after the 8th grade to help on farms or work outside to help support their families.

I look at the students in this class, which would become the class of 1933, and wonder what their lives were like. Little did they know that within two years the stock market would crash. What changes did the ensuing Great Depression bring for these young people and their families? I think my mother was forever changed: with 3 sisters in her family, frugality became a way of life which she practiced until her death.

But in this photo they didn't know what was coming. They probably struggled with little challenges and enjoyed life as it was. It's a good thing not to know the future.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. There are a group of us who post old photographs every Saturday. Go to the Sepia Saturday blog to see who else posted this week.
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